I made my first purchase using money from crypto sales. I bought a keyboard. Actually, I ordered it last week, but it arrived today and I'm (awkwardly) using it!
Ultimately I used BitPay to load a VISA debit card from some bitcoins that I got by trading SBD to Blocktrades. Then I used the card to buy the keyboard from Amazon. Then I used some of the remaining funds to buy a week's worth of groceries. A little bit is still on the card.
But here's how the process worked.
Creating my Bitcoin wallet
I ran the Bitcoin client on my desktop and it took days to sync up with the blockchain. Once it was synced, I generated a receiving address (I plan to create and label a new one for every transfer so that it's easier to tie them back to specific transfers.)
I decided that I wanted to be in control of my wallet and that I would hold the keys, rather than some third party. It meant waiting to sync, but I feel it was worth it. And yes, I backed up the wallet in case my system catches fire or something.
Loading my wallet
I used the link to "sell" SBD from my wallet page on Steemit.com. This went to the Blocktrades.us page where I chose from the pulldowns to convert from SBD to BTC, and I gave it my newly generated BTC address. It responded back with a memo that I used on my wallet page of Steemit.com to do a transfer to @blocktrades with the pasted memo. It took a little while to confirm, but I was soon the proud new owner of a few fractions of bitcoin.
Getting the Card
I went from various exchange to exchange trying to find the easiest way to convert BTC to USD. I didn't like the waiting periods and loads of personal information they all wanted. I would have been fine giving them an SSN, but they wanted bank information or clumsy pictures of a license or other such nonsense. BitPay needed name, address, SSN, and birth date. I didn't have to screw around with other documents or link them to a bank account, I just had to wait a few days for the card.
The card cost 0.001264 BTC, plus network fees, so 0.0013092 BTC total. Doing the actual BTC transfer involved copying a URL that BitPay provided, so I didn't have to clumsily fumble with the amount and manually add a transfer fee, it just filled it in and I accept it.
From BTC to Cash (Credit)
Putting cash on the card involves clicking a link on the BitPay site to add funds, typing in an amount in USD, and then it generates a price quote that is good for 15 minutes. You can change the dollar amount, it still uses the same quote. Interestingly, you can actually refresh this and end up with a better rate than the real BTC rate because of BTC price fluctuations. So if you don't like the rate, wait 15 and get a new one.
Then I copied the link and fed it to my wallet and just like with paying for the card it let me just click through to send.
Sure, it's credit and not cash, but hypothetically you can use it at an ATM to just draw out cash. I have not tried this because I don't like ATM fees. Instead, I plan to just use it as a credit card.
I wanted to use the debit card to pay my Amazon card so I could get 5% back on the purchase, but there would have been a $5 ACH fee that would have really taken a bite out of the rewards. I can probably buy amazon gift cards and get a discount there, I guess... I ended up doing another transfer to the card to bring the balance up high enough for the keyboard.
I'll have short term capital losses on the conversions due to picking a window where SBD and bitcoin were both trending downward, but other than that bit of accounting it wasn't a bad experience. And now that I have the BitPay card, I can offer to convert SBD and STEEM to cash for friends and family on the platform, but if they want something other than gift cards then I'll let them pay the ATM fees to get their cash out. Plus I can split the network fees with them and do some coin to cash conversion of my own and save a few satoshi.
But what about the keyboard...
The keyboard is pretty awesome, but sadly, a little awkward. It's a Vortex Core 40% which has no number row, no arrow keys, and a slew of dumbly placed modifier accessible replacements for all the punctuation and f keys it's missing. For example, the apostrophe is reached by hitting Red Fn B. That's pretty annoying. Instead of doing this I whack the enter key which is where the apostrophe would be. Then I have to go back and fix the mistake... I'm an avid Vimmer (we're like emacs users, except we have souls and morals and can't type with our toes to hit all the extra modifiers), so I really need those number keys and a handful of punctuation for coding.
Sounds pretty terrible, right? So why did I say pretty awesome? The keys feel wonderful under my fingers. The size of the keys is just about perfect. It's clicky, but eerily quiet. It's going to make a wonderful piece of hardware when I jam it into a laptop form factor with my tinkerboard, raspberry pi, hdmi screen, e ink display, and copious batteries. I don't mind the oddly placed modifiers, yet, but the pressure to push down the keys is a little more than I'm used to. Ooh, but man can I type fast on this thing -- provided I don't need to hit any punctuation... Let's see how I feel about it after a week of use, though!